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International

Nigeria quarantines farm as anthrax outbreak confirmed

Many communities depend on livestock farming and herding for their livelihoods

Nigeria is gearing up to stop the spread of anthrax after cases were reported at a livestock farm north-west of the capital, Abuja.

The outbreak was confirmed by the agricultural ministry after symptoms of the disease were discovered at a farm in Gajiri, along the Abuja-Kaduna motorway, in Niger state.

The farm, which has cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, has been placed under quarantine, and 50,000 doses of anthrax vaccine have been sent to the area.

Anthrax primarily affects livestock animals. Humans can also be infected when they come into direct contact with infected animals or consume products from them.

It is caused by Bacillus anthracis and largely survives as spores that hide away in soil for years before entering an animal through a cut or wound.

Clinical signs of anthrax in animals include sudden death and bleeding from the nose, mouth and anal region.

The government is encouraging livestock owners, farmers and the public to remain vigilant and report any other suspected cases.

It also urged farmers to avoid slaughtering sick animals as this could expose people to anthrax spores.

Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics but treatment needs to start soon after infection. No human exposure has been reported so far.

Many communities, mostly in northern Nigeria, depend on livestock farming and herding for their livelihoods, supplying meat to the rest of the country.

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